At Westside Baptist Church, we gather together as one man on the Lord’s day to worship our Saviour and to learn from His Word. Yet though the weekly gathering of the local congregation is absolutely central to biblical Christianity, living out the Christian life cannot be confined to a particular building or day of the week. In our neighborhood fellowships, held throughout the week all over the Kitsap Penninsula, we scatter daily in one accord, as we seek to live out our mission in the homes and neighorhoods in which we live. Each of these groups is built around four simple principles.
As believers in Christ, we are called to be the family of God. It is impossible to fully obey the “one-anothers” that Paul made so central to the Christian life if the only time you ever see your fellow church members is during a formal church service. To grow together in Christ we must spend time, not just with our “fab five” but even and especially with those believers we struggle to get along with. We begin each neighborhood fellowship by enjoying a simple meal as we share the joys and burdens of our lives with one other.
As believers in Christ, we seek to lead lives that are both founded on and bounded by the Scriptures. As vital as it is to hear the Word preached and as important as it is to read the Word for ourselves, there is something uniquely powerful about reading God’s Word together with others. At each neighborhood fellowship, we read through a chapter of Scripture, seeking first to understand the Spirit-inspired truth of that chapter and then to see that truth transform our individual lives.
As believers in Christ, we move forward on our knees. The true strength of the church does not come from slick programs but from the fervent and effectual prayer of God’s people. It isn’t enough just to tell others that you will pray for them. At our neighborhood fellowships, we take time to pray together, bearing one another’s burdens and sharing one another’s joys, even as we also pray for the advancement of the Kingdom of God around the world.
As believers in Christ we are a people with a mission. We have a message that is too beautiful to be reduced to a sales pitch to strangers and too powerful to be muted to simply being nice. We are called to love people as Jesus loved them, meeting them where they are at even as the Spirit draws them to the foot of the cross where they need to be. Focusing our outreach around our neighborhood fellowships enables us to present the message of the Gospel to people who can, by God’s grace, see its power at work in our lives and homes.